It is MLK day and I could not help but remember sitting in Mrs. Byrd’s kitchen. She lived in a big ole two story clapboard house- grey – and the door opened into her kitchen, where she spent most of her time. She had a wood stove that she cooked on and a round table. She and her friends would sit at that table and solve the problems of the world, look out for one another, talk shit on everyone, fix each other’s hair, laugh and listen to the radio, with the greatest of excitement and reverence, to Dr. King. I was 10, so I was wide open and impressionable. I would crawl under that table and listen to these ladies for hours on end. I was filled with questions about Dr. King and my Grandfather was always the one who had to try and answer my questions. We would go out riding some afternoons and evenings and I would rattle off all of my thoughts to him during these rides. One night it had gotten really late, we were lost, and suddenly we were outside a huge gathering. I think my Grandfather was just trying to find out where we were as he slowed down. It was summer and the windows were down and I heard that familiar voice calling out through the night. I remember getting excited and saying “that’s Dr. King!” and getting out of the car and running towards the crowd. I had no idea we could have been in danger or in the middle of something that could turn volatile at any moment. My Grandfather knew and I wonder now how he felt being there, but he lifted me up on the concrete base to a light post so I could see the good Dr. I was too young to understand all of his message but I knew it was important. The best part of the whole experience, to me, at that time, was telling the ladies. I sat at the table to tell my story. There was laughter, there were tears and the love of hearing that voice – the one that tells you of things you were unable to see before – began in these early days of my life. I will forever be grateful to have lived during this time in history so I could hear some of the best “voices” there have ever been.
Amanda turned me on to Iron and Wine. Knowing that Sam Ervin Beam lives in central Texas, I was totally convinced I saw him one year at the Lavender Festival in Blanco. As a musician, and music lover, whenever you hear something you really like, you think about playing and singing it. There are quite a few Iron and Wine songs I would have loved to have worked on with Tom Center. So when I saw this ad for the concert in Austin, I immediately thought of Amanda, my daughter, but was also thrown back 35 years to the life I had with her Father.
We lived in Delaware when Dave was born. We had moved from our drafty old farmhouse in Delmarva, where we had both allowed our creativity to run free, to a small town outside of Dover. When I became pregnant with Dave, I was just getting into herbal medicine. My OB/GYN worked with midwives and she had been encouraging me to go into Midwifery. I was in the hospital eight days following Dave’s birth, but in the evenings when the nursery would bring him to me, Tom would bring Amanda to the hospital and we would sing to the kids. Tom would start with the song he taught me, his favorite for Dave, St Judy’s Comet, and we would usually end with my favorite, that I had taught him, House at Pooh Corner. My years with Tom were some of the sweetest and hardest years of my life but they were also filled with golden moments.
So I am thankful for seeing this post on Facebook, for the memories it sparked and the break in my day to reflect on a sweeter and younger time in my life. Thank you Sam Beam for honoring Midwives but mostly for making me sing again, if only for myself …
“She says “If I leave before you, darling
Don’t you waste me in the ground”
I lay smiling like our sleeping children
One of us will die inside these arms
Eyes wide open, naked as we came
One will spread our ashes round the yard ” Iron and Wine, Our Endless numbered days.
Maybe in a world where children can go to school, church, the movies, or even a concert and become a fatal statistic, we will need people that are fearless. Unable to know what lies in the future, I trust that the Universe knows what will be required. My generation was born under the influence of social change and we were many with voices we found quite early. Among other things, we carried the torch for equal rights for all people.
We were also the first Disney generation. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White – all beautiful souls finding themselves in victim scenarios. They are sweet and kind and a little bruised by life, but they are saved by the Prince who brings them their crown and nobility. The message was clear throughout many of the stories told at that time – you have to be saved by the man. All three Princesses, deserving of the crown, but only reaching that status when they have found their plus – one.
Many years ago, I had a mentor who would make statements about the babies being born and the differences from previous generations being noted and observed. I came to believe through these observations with her that each generation comes in with it’s own set of skills that they will need for the world they will face.
When I was growing up, I remember wishing there was a place that could tell you everything you would ever want to know, at any given moment. I would tell my Grandmother this and she would say ” nobody knows everything! ” That place exists in the world today – the internet! We evolve and become what we need to be for what we will face in our lifetime. One of the simplest examples of this is seen with electronics. Getting a new television, I was obviously struggling with the unfamiliar remote control, but my Grandson, less than two years old, could pass by, pick up the remote, light it up, ( which it took me weeks to discover by the way) and change it to Curious George. That ability, I believe to be one of his inherent tools for the world he will be a part of. I know people from my generation that still refuse to be on the computer. They may not ever have to, but that looks less and less likely. I watched television grow from the status of being owned by the elite few to as common a personal possession in our homes as our refrigerators or stoves. The big cold storage computers I first saw at NASA have grown to be the handheld personal phones we all have. That is a lot of change, progress and growth ! I realize the world of twenty years from now will not be the same world I live in today.
I look at the world around me. A world where we have a leader who promotes us – and them – thinking and stirs the – ism pots keeping us all angry, divided, judging one another. We educate our children in places where we send them out each day, trusting they will be protected and watched over by eyes that care as they learn the things they need to know and gain socialization skills through their interactions with peers and others. The past decade has changed that norm taking it to a place that I believe to be well represented in a recent statement by a child who was involved in a school shooting in Texas. Her name was Paige and she stated to the press : ” I always felt like eventually, it would happen here. I wasn’t surprised, I was just scared. ” She wasn’t surprised. The weight of that statement took my breath away.
It makes sense that I enjoy social media. Facebook represents a running tally of what interests me: current events; places I was going or planned to visit; random thoughts about my life; things that made me laugh, cry, reflect, remind; as well as a loose record of the changes in the lives of friends and family. It is a fast way to keep in touch, though not as personable as talking face – to – face, or even on the phone, but it is a definite tool for keeping in touch that we did not have before. Pictures and memes completed…hey look this is funny…oh isn’t this sweet …or damn can you believe this is happening? I see it as a journal …a witness…a story .
With the birth of my Grandson in 2015, I began to notice the new generation. At the time of his birth, most of the people I knew who were having children or grandchildren ,were having boys and I wondered what the future held that we needed such an influx of males. It was not just the increase of males coming in that had me thinking though, it was also the girls.
The pictures I was seeing from media posts were not the little girls dressed as Cinderella or even Elsa. These were no tiara wearing fragile flowers; these girls were already strong individuals. They fought with their brothers announcing ” I ain’t no stinking princess, I am the King.” They faced a world I could not dream of. The future belongs to them and they are developing skills they will need for their journeys. I love the spirit of these young ones, the twinkle in their eyes and a confidence about them that makes you take note. I am in awe of this generation, for they are not the same. Sometimes even while looking at something, you are not really sure what you are seeing.
One Sunday, as I sat going through the posts of the evening and relaxing before I started out for the day, there was a picture of my cousin’s Granddaughter. She was getting ready to fly and the look on her face held me captive for several moments. Then I knew what it was about these girls that made me notice and take pride in them. They were fearless. If they wanted to be the King, or Captain America, there were no whispering doubts in their minds. They just dress the part and play the role and I have no doubt, they are going to be warriors. They are going to be whoever they need and want to be and it gives me great delight to bear witness.
Though I knew my vote would not count.
I cried when I saw the media posts
Exposing the pulsating, dark underbelly of racism, hatred, and fear
Beneath the shiny gloss of America
I lost my hope in the angry words and name calling
The promotion once more of us and them thinking.
Watching acts of horror against the innocent again and again
In the streets…in the schools….at a concert … the theater.
I took a deep breath.
It was then I saw the children, taking themselves before adults,
Warrior hearts afire and heads held high,
Speaking out for what they too have seen.
I voted for Hope
And so glad that I see it once more.
The promise of changes to come has walked closely with me since the year began. Now this week with Lent beginning, I have employed my physical body as well as spiritual and mental bodies to “cleanse” for the season. I have been considering different options and feeling almost traitorous because I realize the Hill Country is my home. Having the Gypsy stir your soul to go, explore, see it all, made me envious of a friend of mine who told the story of coming into Lexington, VA, years ago, and knowing she was home. She was right, she was home, but I did not really know that feeling until the past two years. I was talking about wanting more permanent housing because” I was home”. I spoke of the rivers, the land, the migratory pathways I witness, my grandson being close by and my daughter chimed in ” and you found an awesome drumming circle” and I laughed because I have been seeking one for almost thirty years. I think now that door has opened because I have found my own heart beat. I have lived through storms that continue to swell and ebb to this day and I have witnessed the things I did not want to see, or know, and carried them heavy behind me…my own private trail of tears, but I know who I am more than I ever have… and I can touch gently on the love I have had for those who are gone from this world … and I can and do, cry in the Walmart line and don’t give a rat’s who sees me … and all the things that we do as humans that give tapestry to the lives we are living,.. I do those things too …but it is nice to be at this place. I thank the Sisters who are present and walking their path and for the sound and fury of the drums.
The first time I did any Spirit work here in the Hill Country, outside of my own private space, I met with a friend, on her land, under the new Moon, to tap into a Kali Ma Empowerment I had written years before. As soon as we got seated, her horse came over to be in our circle. I don’t remember any particular ritual but I do remember the feeling of working with Spirit while a horse walked around you , watching with interest. I was thrilled and honored by his presence in our work.
This past weekend, as I sat in a space I have grown to love in two visits, I saw that I would be honored by horse once more. As soon as we began to settle into our places the horses began to draw closer. They came through the cedars, some running, some walking, some singing as loud as they could. I was at a Drumming circle and the Four directions had been summoned. It was time to work. I looked all around me as the herd came through and tears begin to flow. I remembered today that Chinese astrology lessons were of horse people being adventurous, friendly and deeply emotional, but when the herd came in, there was nothing but us and them. There were no words.
An Arabian came over and chuffed in my ear. sniffing at me while another curious female stood in the background. She was white or gray, difficult to say without being closer but I had caught her image in the corner of my eye as I focused on the beat of the drums. She stood alone, but connected and that connection could be felt. There was Magic around us, swirling and pulsing. We drummed, we released, we prayed and sought Guidance and horse surrounded us saying ‘”come with me, come discover your power and freedom.” And we smiled and we laughed while we said our goodbyes and we walked so much taller than when we arrived .+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-Lisa C-+-+-+-+-+-+-+
I carry a tent, lawn chairs, a change of clothes, blankets and a hammock in my car. I laugh and say ,” you never know when an impromptu camping trip may come up and you want to be prepared”. There is some truth to this but it is also curious to me how it all came about that I do carry these things with me. Having a Grandchild is a wondrous thing. Being a medical social worker for 30 years, working 10+ hours every day was the norm. Once Kesey was born, my focus changed and I turned inward in many ways, listening to an ancient call that I barely understood or acknowledged.
The year he was born I spent the entire Spring and Summer walking with him, for about an hour almost every day. When I could talk everyone into going, I wanted him in parks and in the river, learning to love the earth and seeing how beautiful the world we live in can be. I wanted him to know how much I loved him and how important it is to love the earth. This is what I had to share and give to him and something about having a Grandchild makes you reassess all that is your life and think more about what is important to you. What is your legacy…what do you want this person who carries your DNA and part of your name to know about you. It makes you want to be the very best of you there is to be, to show that child, “this is who I am! This is part of you!”
When I was not with him, I was in the state parks, I was in the river, I was kayaking and spending more time outside instead of work being my all. I bought my own tent when I got a small one for my Grandson. His Dad strung lights like the night sky in his tent in the living room. The boy would sit in awe and wonder. During this time, I was also building my supplies, filling my backpack, getting a hammock that could be strung up anywhere between two trees, with a spot on the Guadalupe in mind.
Spring 2017 had me visiting Boerne Lake more than I had in the past. One Saturday as I sat on the pier waiting for the SUP Yoga – Standup paddle board yoga – class to file out before taking the kayak out, another woman about my age quietly came and sat close by. She explained that she was there to get pictures of her Mother, who was 86, and was “out there” she said pointing to the other side of the lake where a group of ladies were paddling out for the yoga class. Her Mom had asked her to be there on this morning to take this picture.
She said she was envious that her Mother had time to go out and do these things but also proud of her that she still could and wanted to do the things she had begun to do since moving to the Hill Country. She told me a story about how one day her Mother was on her way to Yoga class but got trapped in traffic from an accident on I 10. She was headed towards Boerne so she followed that path, though she knew she was way too late to go to class by the time she took the Boerne exit. Instead, she went into Wal-Mart and bought a hammock. She said she wanted to make sure she had it in the car …”just in case”. I thought about this woman and how she wanted to spend all spare time outside walking, on the water, observing the world around her, working her garden and knew we heard the same Siren call. Maybe she too was hoping to be the best of herself, leaving a legacy of love for the earth behind her. It gave me much to consider and when I saw her paddle away from the class and stand on her board facing her daughter, I knew this was the shot she wanted. She wanted someone, as well as herself, to have a memory of her , just being herself.